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How to list work experience in your resume?

Jelena Lukic

Published 15th October , 2020

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There are many ways to present yourself in a CV. For example, there are multiple types of resume introductions to choose from, and a reference list can be a part of a CV, but it isn’t mandatory. However, there are some parts of a candidate’s CV you can never skip or gloss over. Work experience takes up the bulk of a resume. Additionally, it is arguably the most important part of any good CV. A simple stating of your duties on previous positions isn’t going to impress a recruiter who has to look through many resumes and pick only the best ones. Thus, you should take the time to carefully craft the descriptions of your previous jobs, projects and volunteer work. Here we will give you the tips to add your work experience in your resume in the best possible way.

What is a work experience list?

An Experience section states your previous jobs and describes your duties and achievements. It is usually below Personal information and Education sections. You should organize your Experience section as a list, giving necessary information about where and when you have worked, as well as present your duties in a clear, concise and convenient way. This way the hiring manager can see whether you are a good fit for the position or not in a matter of seconds.

How should work experience in your resume look?

This segment is comprised of smaller segments that describe what you did on your previous job(s). You should format each item in the same way and follow this basic pattern:

  • Job title
  • Name of the company
  • Company’s location
A graphic designer at work.
Make sure your work experience gets noticed!

These should be followed by a description of your responsibilities at that place. List the sub-segments in a chronological order, beginning with your most recent job.

You should present your tasks and responsibilities in the form of a bullet-point list, with each bullet point describing types of tasks you had. You can include two similar tasks within one point. Our resume maker will allow you to do this in no time.

Avoid writing complete sentences, as recruiters aren‘t looking for flowery writing, but clear and readily available information. No matter how many tasks a single point is describing, each bullet should start with a strong action verb which will determine the rest of the point.

Dos and don’ts of work experience lists

Do

Write the descriptions of your responsibilities in a short, clear and concise manner. Highlight your skills and personal traits that make you especially adept in your field, or the field of the company you are applying to.

Use different verbs when describing similar tasks. If all of the tasks seem similar it may appear like you are repeating yourself and trying to make it look like you did more than you actually did. If you are uncertain about which verb to use, don’t be afraid to use thesaurus.com to find synonyms.

Indicate your capabilities through tangible facts. Don’t shy away from using numerical values – percentages, numbers, monetary values ect. to showcase the ways you have helped your current and previous companies grow.

Illustration of a pair of hands shaking.
Now, let’s avoid mistakes!

Don’t

Write about the companies you are or were working at. A resume is your opportunity to shine, and you shouldn’t waste it on a previous employer. If you aren’t moving from one industry to another, chances are the recruiter is familiar their own competitors already.

Waste an opportunity to show a position in a new light. This means making changes to your resume as you apply for different positions in different companies. If your previous job had anything to do with the one you are applying for, make sure to describe how similar the positions are.

Use ‘’I’’, ‘’The’’, pronounces and prepositions.

Listing work experience in your resume: How far back should you go?


On one hand, candidates with more work experience have a lot of data to put into this section of their resumes, which can make it look a little messy. On the other hand, candidates with little or no experience may feel discouraged. Thus, we are here to help you optimize your CV.

A man in front of a whiteboard with graphs on it.
Breaking up the text with a graph of some kind is sure to catch the recruiters’ attention!

Candidates with no professional work experience should include all paid and unpaid work they did. This includes

  • Volunteer experience
  • Unpaid internships
  • Private tutoring jobs
  • Student organization activities

On the other hand, if a candidate’s work history is long and fruitful, they should only include the last 10 to 15 years of work experience and make sure it is indeed relevant for the position they are applying for now.

To conclude

The expectations of employers have expanded immensely in the last couple of decades. Additionally, many candidates are applying for a single position. Hence, there is no greater advantage for a job seeker than already knowing how to do something. A well-written work experience section can help you show your potential employer exactly what you are capable of. Your professional history includes your duties and tasks, all of which show recruiters you are someone who is capable of doing the job without much (or any) training. Naturally, this is especially important if you are not applying for an entry-level position.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to format this section of your resume. Good luck!

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